The Henderson Difference: Moody Center

Situated on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, Moody Center was part of an innovative P3 (public-private partnership) between Oak View Group and the University of Texas to build a world-class arena and bring the best performances and talent to Austin. The newly opened, multi-purpose venue hosts the Longhorns’ men’s and women’s basketball games, attracts top concert talent, and hosts other events throughout the year.

Henderson Engineers provided building systems design and Henderson Building Solutions was tasked with providing commissioning for this new 15,000-seat arena. The new arena and tailgating plaza, which sit across the street from the Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, create an unrivaled gameday experience for Longhorns fans.

Applying years of arena design experience, Henderson Engineers designed a lower bowl mechanical system that supplies air from below seats, also known as positive displacement ventilation, the first of its kind in a collegiate arena. The arena design also includes an operable closure system which mechanically lowers to close off the upper bowl for a more intimate setting. Henderson Building Solutions was responsible for bridging the gap between design and construction by providing commissioning services for the arena.

On this project, the client benefited from the joint efforts of sister companies Henderson Engineers and Henderson Building Solutions and their familiarity with one another’s best practices. The engineering team worked on a concept design prior to a defined delivery method in early 2017. The request for proposal (RFP) and design team selection occurred in late 2018 with onboarding in January 2019. The building solutions commissioning team was included in the RFP response and onboarded in 2019 to perform document review and were involved through the closeout of the project.

Due to the existing collaborative nature of the two sister companies, there were fewer delays when questions presented themselves. Rather than submitting an RFI and waiting for an answer, immediate answers were provided, and rather than negotiating details, the focus was on making the building work properly versus creating long check lists and reports.

One of the challenges unique to this project was the connection to the campus central plant operation. The sequence was unique and, at first, did not work as intended due to campus restrictions. The two companies were able to talk through the best way to solve the challenge. The chiller plant from the university was used with heat exchangers in the Moody Center. Because of the shared client, each team had a vested interest in ensuring the building was delivered correctly. Even though the university wasn’t the direct client, the sister firms cared about making sure the facility worked for all parties.

By working together, the two Henderson teams worked cohesively to communicate and collaborate with the client. The collaboration led to efficient problem resolution and seamless execution by providing real answers and less confusion. Working together was a benefit for the general contractor by reducing the number of punch list items and quicker completion times for the ones that did arise.

While the two teams are different companies, they are culturally aligned to seek the best interest of the client and make buildings work. The combination of two different skillsets helps bring buildings to life and function as intended.

Henderson Knows Venue

Game day is more than just the game itself – it’s the atmosphere that keeps fans coming back. The Henderson Engineers and Henderson Building Solutions winning strategy begins with a talented team, a vision for the future of sports venues, and a passion for improving athlete performance and spectator comfort. It’s why teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, and NCAA have all trusted us to design their state-of-the-art facilities. Our construction experts are always focused on making the game day experience memorable and impactful for fans and athletes alike.

Written By

Design & Construction Executive | BOD

Written By

Venue Sector Executive


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